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Embracing Change

by Lori Sciame | September 21st, 2011 | Teens

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

— Anatole France

Ninth grade…the freshman class. Remember when you went from being the “top dog” in eighth grade, to being on the bottom of the heap in ninth? It was a scary time to say the least. That’s the nature of change; it makes us uncomfortable. As the parent of a teenager, you must prepare your child to deal with the changes like the one mentioned above, otherwise their emotional growth will be stunted.

It’s not easy to accept change, especially if it’s a forced one, yet having the right attitude towards these upheavals makes all the difference. To face the change head on, with an open mind, beats approaching it like a victim. Basically, you want to convey the message that it’s not worth worrying over something you cannot control.

For example, your child may have thoroughly enjoyed the eighth grade; he or she may have been popular, or maybe a favorite teacher made his or her day brighter, but now ninth grade has arrived, and friends have scattered to different classes.

It is at this time that you should help your child react in a proactive way to the situation. You can suggest concrete ways to make the current situation better, such as prompting them to join a sporting team or to sign up for a club. You should also let your child know that he or she has a right to be sad because of the change, but that the sadness must have an end. In effect, it must not get in the way of letting go and moving on.

My good friend lives by the familiar motto, “If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing.” This approach to life shows great optimism, as well as strength. Many times I’ve used this example with my own children, most recently when my 18-year-old flew over 1,300 miles from home to attend college in Miami. The first day there, all alone, my daughter struggled with her decision to leave me, the rest of the family, and her friends so far behind. I reminded her that those butterflies in her stomach signaled a positive change, one that would allow her to become a strong, independent woman.

Finally, the great thing about change is that it is exciting. Starting a new job, going to a different school, or even meeting that special someone proves that change offers a different dimension to life. How boring it would be to drive the same roads, eat the same foods, wear the same clothes, and talk to the same people our entire lives. Change, both positive and negative, forces newness into our lives…it’s a way to stay interested, engaged – alive.

If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.

— John Simone, Sr.

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